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The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics


The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics Cover


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Colorado Jess, January 3, 2014 (view all comments by Colorado Jess)
This book exceeded my expectations by a lot! Fasten your seatbelt and hang on for an amazing ride through a time of dustbowls, shantytowns, and abject poverty juxtaposed next to the blue-blood sport of rowing. What makes this so inspiring is that we get to follow a group of University of Washington guys go from being poor farmers, loggers, and fishermen to first class rowers despite their backgrounds. This is set during the time leading up to and during the Olympics of 1936 when Hitler and his ego wanted so badly to win.
I would put this in the same league of writing as Unbroken. That good!
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RockShadow, October 2, 2013 (view all comments by RockShadow)
Spellbinding and inspirational story of nine golden boys and their times, for both rowers and non-rowers like me. Loved learning details about the Pacific Northwest, Seattle, and the athletes during depression years. The background of the 1936 Olympic Games in Germany was well done, with a different angle of looking on those times. I found the insight into racer selection very interesting, but, of course, the personal stories of the athletes will stay with me forever!
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techeditor, July 12, 2013 (view all comments by techeditor)
Although its subtitle implies that THE BOYS IN THE BOAT is about the American eight-oar rowing crew in the 1936 Olympics, the book is more than that. It's mostly about what led to the formation of the crew. Also, the story is made personal by its concentration on one of the boys, Joe Rantz.

If THE BOYS IN THE BOAT was fiction, I wouldn't have enjoyed it. That's because the whole thing is so unlikely: Joe overcame such odds in his personal life. None of the boys came from money when they suddenly emerged from Seattle, a city few were familiar with then, to beat the prestigious Eastern schools (e.g., Yale and Harvard). The boat and the boys dealt with several disadvantages in Germany, both before and during their races, only to beat their competition. None of this story would be believable if I didn't know it was true.

Throughout this book, juxtaposed against Joe's and the boys' story is Hitler's creation of the fictional Germany that he wanted to present to the world during the Olympics there. As he hides the real Germany, the US ignores him, and the boys and other athletes just work on getting there.

When the story was over, I didn't want it to be over. So I read the endnotes. You'll probably do that, too.
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Product Details

Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Brown, Daniel James
Herrmann, Edward
US History - 20th Century
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
9 x 6 in 1 lb

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The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$28.95 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Viking - English 9780670025817 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Brown masterfully narrates the tale of the 1936 American Olympic rowing team and their gold medal triumph. He paints a vivid picture of the men in the boat, their world, and their sport. A fascinating glimpse into a bygone era.

"Review" by , "A remarkable book...hard to put down."
"Review" by , "A triumph of great writing matched with a magnificent story. Daniel James Brown strokes the keyboard like a master oarsman, blending power and grace to propel readers toward a heart-pounding finish. In Joe Rantz and his crewmates, Brown has rediscovered true American heroes who remind us that pulling together is the surest path to glory."
"Review" by , "In 1936 nine working-class American boys burst from their small towns into the international limelight, unexpectedly wiping the smile off Adolph Hitler's face by beating his vaunted German team to capture the Olympic gold medal. Daniel James Brown has written a robust, emotional snapshot of an era, a book you will recommend to your best friends."
"Review" by , "A lovingly crafted saga of sweat and idealism that raised goosebumps from the first page. I was enthralled by the story's play of light and shadow, of mortality and immortality, and its multidimensional recreation of the pursuit of excellence. This meditation on human frailty and possibility sneaks up on you until it rushes past with the speed of an eight-oared boat."
"Review" by , "The Boys in the Boat is not only a great and inspiring true story; it is a fascinating work of history."
"Review" by , "Daniel Brown's book tells the dramatic story of the crew that set the stage for Seattle emerging as a world-class city. Their lives define the tradition that is still University of Washington rowing today."
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